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Fox may have passed on Delirium, an ambitious science fiction project based on the best-selling book trilogy, but the 2013 pilot is now getting a second life on Hulu.
Delirium, which stars Emma Roberts and Daren Kagosoff, is set in a world where love is illegal. The pilot was directed by Rodrigo Garcia, the co-founder of digital studio Wigs — which is behind the popular online series Blue staring Julia Stiles.
Wigs, which has a multiyear marketing, sales and distribution deal with Fox, is now making the pilot is available on Hulu for a 24-day run. The episode will also be available on the Fox video player on the Wigs website.
It’s rare for a network to release a pilot for viewing that it has decided not to pick up to series. But Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, Fox’s senior vp of multi-platform programming, says that he figured, “why not? [The pilot] was finished. It was great. Why not allow consumers to enjoy it?”
THR spoke with Van Rensselaer and Garcia ahead of Delirium‘s debut to find out more about how they brought the project back to life online.
It’s uncommon for a network to air a pilot that it has passed on, so why did you decide to bring Delirium to online audiences?
Van Rensselaer: My response to that question is always, ‘why not?'” It was a fun coincidence that Rodrigo was directing this pilot. Since the target audiences [for Wigs and Delirium] were such a great match, it made sense for us to get permission to allow both Wigs audiences and the fans of the Delirium book series to watch this thing. So why not? It was finished. It was great. Why not allow consumers to enjoy it?
What’s the goal of putting the pilot up online?
Van Rensselaer: The goal has already been reached in the sense that we’ve gotten permission for the window to allow a special presentation of this material and to allow consumers to see it. We know it’s going to do well. It would be a first-class problem if there was so much demand and excitement for more that my colleagues at Fox in development and [producers] Fox Studios and Chernin Entertainment would hopefully look at what to do with that.
Why have you championed this airing this project?
Garcia: Initially it was for selfish reasons because I worked on the pilot and I thought a lot of people did good work on it. I think everyone was happy with how it turned out, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t fix at Fox. There’s already a big captive audience. It has a humongous following.
Have you applied any lessons you’ve learned from Wigs into the digital distribution of this project?
Garcia: You have to work with good material. I think good material finds its way out into the world. There are so many platforms that it’s becoming more mainstream.
Is this something you expect to do more of at Fox?
Van Rensselaer: I’ve been pushing the envelope for business affairs around all of this. When we go through the trouble of making something of the quality and sensibility of Delirium, we have the ability to show that to consumers — if not on air, on other touch points. I hope in the future we’ll be able to do more of this. When you make great material and it doesn’t make it on the air for a variety of factors, there is a place for it.
Why work with digital content creators like Wigs and The Lonely Island at Fox?
Van Rensselaer: The goal is a more efficient development pipeline. We have great storytellers like Rodrigo and [co-founder Jon Avnet]. We’re just trying to give them the tools and resources necessary to tell stories. We also get some good cost savings from being able to create something at a slightly lower financial commitment. It’s the same thing for the Lonely Island effort. In that case, we get the ingredients together in a free-form development posture to get to the next single- or multi-camera, live-action hit that could go on Fox or FX or FXX.
Watch the Delirium trailer here:
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